This picture drives me nuts. In fact I kind of get the shakes just looking at it. I cannot handle the little red circles on my iPhone screen. Whether its a text, voicemail or email, I cannot resist the urge to press it. I have to know what it is. I might be missing the email that will change my life. If I don’t check twitter every 10 minutes I might miss the holy grail of tweets with a link to the ultimate viral video.
I always thought this was just my own, private weirdness until I heard about FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. This is the fear that you’ll miss out on something spectactular if you don’t go to an event or do something.
Warning signs that you may be suffering from FOMO:
Is Facebook the first thing you look at in the morning and last thing you look at before going to sleep?
Have you ever had a episode of “phantom vibrating iPhone”, when you took your phone out of your pocket because you thought you felt it vibrate?
Have you had more than two near misses because you were texting and driving?
FOMO is a fairly new condition. I’m 47 so I remember life not just before the Internet but before answering machines. I can remember being in the middle of dinner and the phone would ring. Sometimes we’d say, just let it ring, they’ll call back. And you know what? They did.
What’s the answer? Is there a cure other than throwing away your iPhone?
I think the biggest thing that’s helped me, is to realize it’s actually a fear of man issue. I care far too much about what people think of me and depended way too much on the approval of others. One day I read a great quote from a preacher named Steven Furtick “he who lives for the approval of others, will die by the absence of the same.” That one quote has helped me in my ongoing struggle with FOMO.
Here’s a few things to help anyone suffering from FOMO
- don’t immediately reply to a text, unless it’s an emergency
- Ask yourself if the person will add value to your life before you follow them on Twitter or friend them on Facebook.
- Occasionally unplug. The next time you’re out with your girlfriend or spouse, leave your phone in your pocket.
- Develop a “they’ll call back” attitude. If they really need to talk to you, they will call back.
There’s even a verse in the bible to help- “Fearing people is a dangerous trap…” Proverbs 29:25.
Stop reacting immediately to the red circles in your life, pretty soon you’ll find your FOMO going away.